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LECTURES
2023 - 2024 Season

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Thursday, October 26, 2023

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Kings, Queens, Commoners, and Captives: What Can Archaeology Tell Us About Dahomean Society in the Era of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?

Professor J. Cameron Monroe, Anthropology Department at University of California, Santa Cruz (African Archaeology Lecture)

7:00 pm EST

Online via Zoom 

Abstract: The Kingdom of Dahomey, in the modern Republic of Benin, stands as one of the most comprehensively researched kingdoms in precolonial West Africa. Decades of historical, anthropological, and art historical research have cast important light on the origins of the precolonial polity, and its rise, expansion, and transformation through its participation into the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Since the year 2000, Professor J. Cameron Monroe has led archaeological surveys and excavations at palace sites, urban centers, and rural villages across the Abomey Plateau, the political heartland of the kingdom. In this presentation, he will discuss how archaeological research is reshaping our understanding of the nature and extent of Dahomey political power in the Atlantic era, and its impact on local communities across the region.   

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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New Light on King Herod's Harbor (Caesarea Maritima)

 

 

Professor Bridget Buxton, Department of History at University of Rhode Island

7:00 pm EST

In-Person Program - No Registration Required

Room 1400 Marie Mount Hall

University of Maryland

Abstract: New excavations at the biblical site of King Herod's harbor in Caesarea have transformed our understanding of one of the ancient world's greatest engineering achievements.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Jamestown Archaeology: Remains to be Seen            (Annual Louise D. Davison Lecture)

 

 

Dr. William Kelso, Emeritus Director of Archaeology and Research, Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation

7:00 pm EST (Annual Business Meeting Begins at 6:45 pm EST)

Hybrid

Funger Hall (2201 G Street NW) Room 108

George Washington University

Online

Abstract: This lecture will discuss new discoveries and the latest interpretations of finds at the earliest English settlement in America

Thursday, April 4, 2024

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Leisure and Labor in the Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii (Annual Howland Lecture in Classical Archaeology)

Professor John R. Clarke, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin 

7:00 pm EST

In-Person Program - No Registration Required

George Washington University (Room To Be Announced)

Abstract: This lecture proposes that the two so-called villas belonging to the site known in antiquity as “Oplontis” were part of an important seaside suburb of Pompeii (three Roman miles to the south). The place-name “Oplontis,” along with the names of the other buried cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae, appears—How did they know?—on a medieval copy of a fourth-century Roman Itinerary. From the earliest excavations to the final, surprising excavation of the 31 m swimming pool, scholars have been taken with the high-quality fresco, marble, and sculptural decoration and what it means in terms of super-elite taste and image-projection. This luxurious dwelling was, however, abandoned at the time of the eruption because it failed to recover after the disastrous earthquake the preceded the eruption by 17 years. In contrast, the site known as Villa B lacks—aside from its grand two-story peristyle—any pretensions to being a luxury villa. Rather, given the documented 1,431 Dressel 2-3 amphorae studied by the Oplontis Project, and the chemical analysis of the residues identified in the amphorae, Oplontis B was a wine-bottling emporium of considerable size. Unlike Villa A, Oplontis B was going at full tilt at the time of the eruption. Hundreds of amphorae stacked upside-down around the peristyle to dry after having been washed for refilling with wine that was to be shipped from Pompeii’s river port. Perhaps the most sensational discovery was that of 54 human skeletons in a barrel- vaulted room close to the ancient shoreline. They were victims of three killers: a tsunami; collapse of the barrel vaulted over their heads; and poisonous gas. Some of the skeletons’ bones were commingled an unusual quantity of coins and jewelry. Unfortunately, after the hubbub about the gold and jewelry (1984) died down, the Italian archaeological service closed it—seemingly permanently—for lack of funding. The road seems clear, now that the Oplontis Project has invested much labor and money into the study of the villas of Oplontis—paving the way for reopening Villa B to the public. In June 2023 we closed our final trench (46). Three further seasons will be devoted the study of all finds and preparation of the publications.

For previous lecture seasons, click here.

All lectures are free and open to the public

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